Every day, we lose roughly 100 acres of farmland to rural development throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The 2015 census revealed that Pennsylvania lost over 6,000 farms within five years. Small farms are struggling to break even, let alone make a profit. At the same time, 35% of food in the United States is going to waste. On top of that, food has to travel on average 1,500 miles from the farm before reaching the dinner table.
When we shop at local grocery stores, chances are they are not selling locally grown food. Much of the food sold in grocery stores comes from mass-produced farms. However, studies show that small farms are more efficient because they are better for the soil, prevent erosion, and have a smaller carbon footprint. Farmers' markets are a great way to buy locally grown products, but only a small portion of people shop at farmers' markets compared to those shopping at grocery stores.
Table Rock Markets is our solution to keeping farms in business by increasing their sales and profitability while at the same time helping families eat healthy, locally grown food. Farmers' markets have been around for over five thousand years, and by incorporating them with modern technology, we will be able to improve the agriculture industry. Table Rock Markets is an e-commerce platform designed specifically for farmers. Farmers do not have much time to spend on the computer, especially during harvest season. For this reason, we are making our platform easy to use by automating as many processes as possible.
Table Rock Markets allows farmers to start selling online in four simple steps; 1. Create an account, 2. Activate the credit card processor, 3. List the farmers' markets they attend, and 4. Start adding products. Once the four steps are complete, customers can start buying from the farmer online. Table Rock Markets helps customers find local farmers and what farmers markets they attend. Once they find a farmer they want to buy from, they can add their products into the virtual shopping cart. Before checking out, the customer will select which farmers' market they want to pick up at. After placing the order, the farm will receive a notification. Table Rock Markets allows farmers to set custom ordering windows for each market, which gives the farmer time to prepare the orders. Utilizing our pre-ordering system offers farmers a better idea of how much produce they need to take to market. It is also convenient for customers as they know what products will be available each week and help save them time while shopping. Our strategy for building Table Rock Markets is to eliminate any friction in the farmers' selling process and customers' buying process. The coronavirus pandemic has been our wake-up call to the importance of shopping locally and pushing towards a more innovative future.